FLORENCE — When Karen Gruber answered her telephone and a man said she was having problems with her home computer, she immediately got suspicious.
“He tells me we had a problem with our computer,” Gruber said. “He goes on to describe there were horrible, earth-shattering problems with the computer, and if I didn’t address these issues immediately, all our information on the computer would be lost.
“Then he said he could help us over the phone. That was the catch.”
Gruber said the man identified himself as being from Microsoft Windows Care Depertment and he spelled out the name.
“I asked him twice and even spelled ‘depertment’ to him, and he said ‘yes’ that was the name of his company,” she said.
Gruber said the response added to her suspicions.
“Then he gave me a phone number, which didn’t match what showed up on our (telephone) caller ID,” she said. “I called the number and, of course, it had been disconnected.”
Gruber said the man wanted her to do a key stroke on the keyboard of her computer.
“I didn’t because I’m sure he was trying to gain access to my computer,” she said.
Christie Yeiser, of the Better Business Bureau of the Shoals, said the man talking to Gruber is part of a scam that has been circulating in the area in recent weeks.
She said the scam is similar to what Gruber heard. She said someone calls claiming to be from Microsoft and that errors or warnings have been found on the person’s accounts.
Yeiser said officials with Microsoft’s Safety and Security Center say the company does not make unsolicited calls to help fix computers.
“If I had went along with what the man was wanting me to do, he could have direct access to everything on my computer,” Gruber said.
She said she “played along” for a while before confronting the caller.
“I told him I knew what he was trying to do. When I confronted him about the phone number and the name of the company, he hung up on me,” she said. “When he called, things were just not right. I just had a feeling it was scam.”
For more information, contact the BBB at bbb.org or call 800-239-1642.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.